It wasn't until after I spent what felt like a lifetime of working on my inner healing from childhood sexual abuse that I realized how much harm I had done to others.
At the onset of my discovery at the age of 38 I was horrified, disgusted, terrified and raging.
When I began to follow a 12-Step Program to help cope with the feelings of being overwhelmed and wanting to die I only thought about what evil was done to me and how I would try to make them pay for their crimes.
I spent months in bed, not sleeping, caught in the waves of memories day and night; only able to venture out for therapy. Each session seemed worse than the original abuse as I had to face the demons again. When I felt that I would harm myself my therapist suggested an inhouse facility; I agreed.
It was there that I began the program. At first I had no understanding of even the first step; it was all so foreign to me. Eventually I began to surrender my out-of-control feelings to God as I know Him; trust was a huge issue because I was ritually abused as well in a church environment.
As I moved through the program I stumbled upon the Fourth Step, making a moral inventory of myself. I began to realize that I had buried a lot of things in my past. I felt guilty and ashamed of my behavior and the harm it had caused others in my life.
Initially I resisted the thought of asking forgiveness of anyone; after all I was a victim from a very early age.
I had no sexual boundaries since they were destroyed before I could think.
But as I fearlessly began to look at my shortcomings I also began to acknowledge my part in perpetuating my uncontrolled behavior onto others. I helped destroy my first marriage as well as many close relationships.
I began to recount how many partners I had been with sexually over the years; it was humbling.
As I learned to hold myself responsible for my actions as an adult I began to heal in a beautiful way.
Now I have grown accustomed to examining myself, my motives and my actions. I still ask forgiveness, and know that I am forgiven.
I am adept at mending fences !